Stratford-upon-Avon Things to Do

  • Shakespeare's Birthplace, Startford-upon-Avon, UK
    Shakespeare's Birthplace,...
    by marinarena
  • MAD Museum exhibit
    MAD Museum exhibit
    by SallyM
  • MAD Museum Exhibit
    MAD Museum Exhibit
    by SallyM

Most Recent Things to Do in Stratford-upon-Avon

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    The MAD Museum

    by SallyM Updated Jan 2, 2015

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    No, despite the name, this is not a museum about insanity. 'MAD' stands for 'Mechanical Art and Design.'

    The Museum was launches in 2012. Its website describes it as a showcase for 'the world’s finest pieces of Kinetic Art and Automata belonging to pioneering artists from all four corners of the globe.' That sounds rather highbrow, but the museum is actually a place full of strange gadgets and gizmos that move, light up, emit strange noises and are generally great fun to interact with. If Wallace from Wallace and Gromit were to design a museum, this would be it. One of the exhibits even uses kitchen utensils to transport small balls around.

    'Garden Bear', a piece by Theo Kaccoufa (see photo), is made from steel rods and wire, brass, recycled tin cans, recycled card, nuts and bolts, MDF and an electric motor.

    Visitors are able to interact with the exhibits by pressing buttons, turning handles (or even clapping), and although some of the pieces are serious works of art, it's a great place to take children who may be less enthralled with Stratford's literary connections.

    Be aware though, that one or two of the exhibits are a bit creepy: there's a magician automaton doing a 'cup and ball' trick, which can be a little unnerving, and the 'Dartmoor Pony of the Apocalypse' is nightmarish.

    Open 7 days a week: 10.30am - 5.00pm

    Admission:

    Adult: £6.80, concessions £5.50, children (6-12) £4.50, 5 & under free.

    MAD Museum exhibit MAD Museum Exhibit Garden Bear - at the MAD Museum MAD Museum Exhibit The MAD Museum, Stratford on Avon
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    Waterside Market

    by SallyM Updated Aug 4, 2014

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    On Sundays and Bank Holidays from April to mid-September there is a Food and Craft Market in the Waterside area, outside the RSC Theatre.

    It is essentially a craft and gift market, thought there are a couple of foodie stalls, selling jams, pickles, honey, fudge etc. and a couple of street food outlets (noodles, fresh lemonade etc.).

    However, the first stall we saw was from a local wildlife centre, complete with owls. You can photograph or stroke the owls in return for a small donation.

    Waterside Food and Craft Market Owl, Waterside Food and Craft Market
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    Compton Verney

    by SallyM Updated Aug 3, 2014

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    As a change from Shakespeare, you might visit Compton Verney, an art gallery about 9 miles from Stratford.

    It's a Georgian house, set in grounds landscaped by 'Capability' Brown, which was until the 20th century the home of the Willoughby de Broke family. It had become derelict in the mid-20th century, until it was rescued by a charitable trust in 1993, which obtained funding to restore it and open it as an art gallery. It finally opened in 2004.

    There are 6 permanent collections:

    Naples 1600-1800
    Northern European Art 1450-1650
    British Portraits
    Chinese
    British Folk Art
    The Marx-Lambert Collection.

    In addition, there are special exhibitions (for which an additional charge is made). When I visited, there was a Rodin and Henry Moore exhibition, with some works shown in the grounds. There is a very pleasant resources space where visitors can relax on comfy sofas or beanbags and peruse art books.

    Admission for the grounds and collections (not including special exhibitions) costs £8.00, though there are concessions for members of English Heritage, or Art Pass holders.

    There is a shop, café, and a rather good restaurant with table service. Car parking is free, and there is an adventure playground for children.

    Compton Verney, Warwickshire Compton Verney, Warwickshire Compton Verney, Warwickshire Compton Verney, Warwickshire Compton Verney, Warwickshire
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    Royal Shakespeare Company

    by SallyM Updated Aug 3, 2014

    I'm sure most tourists come to Stratford because of the Shakespeare connection, and there really is no substitute for going to a performance in the recently redeveloped Royal Shakespeare theatre. I have been to see Richard II, Henry IV parts I and II and Two Gentlemen of Verona in the new theatre.

    On a recent visit, I was lucky enough to have tickets for stalls row A, which was so close to the action I could reach out and touch the apron stage. (Tickets for these seats cost £40 each, but restricted view tickets are available for £18 and there are cheaper tickets for under 25s). Don't worry unduly about the 'restricted view' - you won't miss much, because it's an apron stage. It's much better than in most West End Theatres.

    During the interval you can stroll out onto the terrace and admire the view of the river. But don't buy hot drinks - you will not have time to finish them, and you will not be allowed to take them into the auditorium. (If you buy a cold drink they will give you a plastic cup which can be taken into the auditorium - but it's easier to finish a cold drink, than to wait for a hot cup of coffee to cool down anyway!).

    Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre View from row A, as theatre fills up
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    Courtyard Theatre

    by SallyM Updated Jun 1, 2014

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    If you go to Stratford, you must go to a production by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

    On my first visit, in 2008, I saw Hamlet starring David Tennant, which was wonderful, and as we saw the preview, tickets were only £14 each, which had to be the bargain of the century. The main RSC theatre was being redeveloped at the time, so the production was in the Courtyard Theatre.

    The Courtyard Theatre
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    Town Hall

    by grayfo Written Mar 17, 2014

    The original Town hall was built in the reign of Charles I and was extensively damaged from a gunpowder explosion in 1643, just over a century later the Hall was pulled and re-built the following year. In 1863 major alterations resulted in the Town Hall looking very much like it does today although the building did sustain more damage from a fire in 1946. The Town Hall is one of the few buildings in Stratford that was constructed in stone and was originally open on the ground floor for use on market day.

    email info@stratforduponavontowncouncil.gov.uk

    May 2013

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    Shakespeare's Birthplace

    by grayfo Updated Jan 22, 2014

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    The half-timbered house where it is believed William Shakespeare was born in 1564 is Stratford's most famous historic building. It is the most popular visited of all the tourist places and has been carefully and painstakingly restored to paint an accurate picture of Elizabethan life.

    Winter: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
    Spring and Autumn: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
    Summer: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm

    Adults: £14.95
    Children: £9.00
    Includes Shakespeare’s Grave

    email info@shakespeare.org.uk

    August 2005

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    Tourist Information Centre

    by grayfo Written Jan 18, 2014

    The centre is a good source of maps and tourist information. The Tourist Office also offers a range of Discounted Tickets, Information on attractions, events, what to see, including Open-Top tours and where to stay or eat. The centre provides a variety of free literature, whilst for sale within the office are the usual postcards, guides and books, gift ideas, regional specialities and local arts and crafts.

    Car park and toilet facilities are available next to the Information Centre.

    Monday to Saturday: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm
    Sunday: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

    email tic@discover-stratford.com

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    Leisure and Visitor Centre

    by grayfo Written Jan 14, 2014

    The Stratford Leisure and Visitor Centre has a wide range of activities and facilities to suit everyone and is the perfect place to exercise, learn, keep fit and have fun. It is popular for all members of the family especially children, with a 33 metre, 6 lane swimming pool and teaching pool, fitness and dance studios, health suite, 8 Badminton and 4 all-weather pitches. There is also a Crèche and Nursery, as well as the centre catering for Birthday parties.

    I used to come here regularly on a Sunday morning for a swim and sauna, I should really start again.

    Sunday to Saturday: 7:00 am to 10:00 pm

    Swimming
    Adults: £3.70
    Children: £2.25

    email stratfordinfo@everyoneactive.com

    August 2005

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    Shakespeare's house

    by solopes Updated Jan 13, 2014

    A crowd filling a house with not much to see, only mattering for being Shakespeare's birthplace, forced a quick visit.

    The peasant look of the city is very welcoming, and, in Spring, with flowers blooming everywhere it is a nice escape from the skyscrapers of London.

    Straffford-on-Avon Straffford-on-Avon Straffford-on-Avon
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    Lest We Forget

    by grayfo Written Jan 8, 2014

    War Memorial

    The Stratford-upon-Avon Cross of Sacrifice is one of two war memorials within the garden; the plaques around the base of this cross bear the names of 235 of the town's dead from the Great War (1914–1918). The memorial is a cross and below it the shaft is a monolith, octagonal in form on a stepped octagonal plinth, which bears the names of the fallen, and the inscription; there is also a three stepped octagonal base’

    �� Mike Cox (kestrel49)

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    Clopton Bridge

    by grayfo Written Jan 3, 2014

    The 14 pointed span Clopton Bridge crosses the River Avon where during Saxon times the river was forded, the bridge was built in 1480; replacing a timber one from 1318. Two arches were rebuilt in 1524, the bridge was also repaired in 1588 following flooding and in 1642 more repair work was required after an arch was destroyed in an attempt to block Oliver Cromwell’s army. The parapets were raised in 1696, the bridge was also widened in 1811, a ten-sided toll-house tower was built in 1814 and finally a cast iron footbridge was added in 1827.

    The bridge is Grade I listed.

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    Statue – Gower Memorial

    by grayfo Written Jan 2, 2014

    The memorial was presented to the town of Stratford in 1888 by Lord Ronald Sutherland Gower and show William Shakespeare seated on a pedestal, surrounded, at ground level, by figures of Hamlet, Lady Macbeth, Prince Hal, and Falstaff. These literary characters from his plays represent Philosophy, Tragedy, History, and Comedy

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    Clock Tower

    by grayfo Written Dec 30, 2013

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    The Shakespeare Memorial Fountain and Clock Tower (as it is officially known) was donated by George W. Childs (1829 -1894), of Philadelphia, an American publisher in 1887 to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. The large Gothic Clock Tower is constructed mostly from Peterhead granite and freestone, portrayed above each clock face is a representation of a fairy from Shakespeare’s play “A Midsummer Night's Dream”. Also prominent on two of the fountain corners are carved American eagles and on the other two corners there are English lions.

    The clock tower used to have a drinking fountain, while flower filled horse-troughs now line each side. The monument was originally unveiled by the English actor Sir Henry Irving.

    May 2013

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    The Royal Shakespeare Theatre

    by grayfo Written Dec 20, 2013

    The Royal Shakespeare Theatre originally opened on 23 April 1932 and replaced the original Shakespeare Memorial Theatre that stood on the adjacent land and was built in 1879 but destroyed by fire on 6 March 1926. The theatre underwent a major renovation opening again in 2010 and is now a 1,040 seated one-room theatre and allows the actors and the audience to share the same space, as they would have done when Shakespeare’s plays were first produced. The theatre is a Grade II listed building and keeps many of the art deco features of the 1932 Theatre.

    March 2013

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